Underwater Hockey Champs Back in the Capital
5, September 2012
Secondary Schools Underwater Hockey Champs Back in the Capital
Around 500 secondary school students will be arriving in Wellington this week for the national secondary Schools Underwater Hockey Tournament being played at the Kilbirnie Aquatic Centre from Thursday September 6 to Sunday September 9.
With Christchurch’s QE2 pool out of action because of the earthquake, Wellington will host the highly competitive and fast growing sport for the first time in a number of years. There are four grades with 10 teams each and 14 participants so 560 plus parents and supporters.
Event promoter Paige Moran said some invitation teams from Australia will compete in the New Zealand secondary schools tournament, which is the biggest underwater hockey event on the New Zealand calendar.
“Because people on the surface only see heads and fins it is not a great spectator sport, but it is really fast and highly competitive,” Moran said. “Water is a great equaliser so it puts young and old, big and small on an equal footing.
“Anyone can play against anyone else and you often get pupils who are too small to play netball or rugby finding a niche in underwater hockey,” she said. “In New Zealand 2000 people play competitive underwater hockey at various levels, with 800 in the secondary school competitions.”
She said 30 countries now played the sport with about 20,000 active players worldwide.
There have been some suggestions that underwater hockey becomes a new Olympic sport with the games played in a raised glass pool with seating below and around it, but prohibitive costs are likely to rule it out.